Anthony Davis has started the 2020 NBA Finals like a man on a mission.
While his superstar teammate LeBron James is participating in his 10th Finals, Davis is in his first and playing like a man hellbent on collecting his first ring.
Similar to Game 1, Davis was simply unstoppable in Game 2, obliterating the undermanned Miami Heat defence from the inside out to finish with 32 points on 15-for-20 shooting.
With Miami missing their best interior defender in Bam Adebayo (shoulder), Davis went to work on the offensive glass, hauling in eight of his 14 rebounds on that end, overpowering and straight-up bullying Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk throughout the night.
"There's no one in the NBA that can check him one-on-one," Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo said postgame. "When the double comes he's making great reads, he's getting the guys the ball on time, on target. Like I said, when we play through him he's unstoppable."
"There's no one in the NBA that can check him one-on-one."@RajonRondo has high praise for @AntDavis23 after LA's Game 2 #NBAFinals win. pic.twitter.com/9EvlrgvwDW- NBA TV (@NBATV) October 3, 2020
Averaging 33 points and 11.5 rebounds through two games, Rondo's comments ring true. Even with Adebayo in Game 1, they had no answer for Davis who has quickly emerged as the most influential player in the series.
Shooting 26-for-41 (63.4 percent) from the field, Davis has become the first player in Lakers franchise history to score 30-plus points in their first two Finals appearances. Kevin Durant (2012), Michael Jordan (1991), Rick Barry (1967) and Hal Greer (1967) are the only players to record the feat in NBA history - not bad company.
In topping 30-plus points before the end of the third quarter in each game, Davis matched Shaquille O'Neal's 2002 Finals feat.
According to Basketball Reference, O'Neal is the only player in Finals history to have a better field goal percentage than Davis on at least 20 shot attempts.
Everywhere you look Davis is putting up historic numbers to start the series, and it's becoming increasingly obvious that the Heat don't have the answer to the test.
AD lifts @Lakers in Game 2! 😤@AntDavis23 (32 PTS, 15-20 FGM, 14 REB) tallies 30+ for the second straight game, helping LAL go up 2-0! #NBAFinals- NBA (@NBA) October 3, 2020
Game 3: Sunday - 7:30pm/et, ABC pic.twitter.com/4OQ3O1SMdI
Despite the Heat packing the paint in an attempt to keep Davis on the perimeter, he is now 14-for-18 (77.8 percent) within five feet while also reeling in 5.5 offensive boards per game. For reference, he was 70.8 percent within five feet and averaged 2.7 offensive boards per game during the regular season.
Anyway, you try to slice it, Anthony Davis is the difference-maker that is powering the Lakers towards another NBA title.
LeBron finds himself with a 2-0 lead in The Finals for the first time in his 10 visits, and Kendrick Perkins weighed in on twitter, suggesting Davis compliments LeBron better than any other teammate he's had in his sparkling career thus far.
Dwyane Wade quickly responded, "I agree big Perk."
James was brilliant in his own right in Game 2, finishing with 33 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, but for the first time, he is trending towards taking a back seat in a championship team, as it is Davis playing the lead role.
At this point, it's becoming impossible to deny, and Davis is well and truly on his way to the 2020 NBA Finals MVP and LeBron his fourth NBA Championship.
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